Special Report

19 Reasons Why Friday the 13th Still Scares Us

Science has been able to explain many of the phenomena that have stoked fears and suspicions in people. Even so, superstitions still prevail in the modern world such as bad luck that would follow if you crossed paths with a black cat, broke a mirror, or walked under a ladder. Some superstitions are particular to a state or a region. Here are crazy legends and superstitions people believe in every state.

Most of us laugh off these fears. Hollywood has even capitalized on Friday the 13th by creating a horror movie franchise with that name. But there is still a reservoir of concern about Friday the 13th. With the next Friday the 13th on Sept. 13, 24/7 Tempo looked into why this date still gives us pause. We reviewed sources — such as Live Science and the National Geographic — to compile a list of reasons why the date has become synonymous with bad luck, and examples of the bizarre misfortune that has befallen people on that date throughout history.

Click here to read why Friday the 13th still scares us.

Years often have at least one Friday the 13th, and this year we have two, first in September, then in December. This has been so since the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582. Another curious fact emerges since we’ve been using the Gregorian calendar: The 13th falls on Friday more often than on any other day of the week.

You’ve probably heard of triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13. Friday the 13th has its own phobia — paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia. Fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in Judeo-Christian and Western tradition, although no one is really certain how it started. In the distant past, Friday was an unlucky day for criminals who faced the gallows that day. In the Middle Ages, weddings were not held on Friday the 13th. The number 13 is viewed warily because numerologists consider it an incomplete number, as opposed to complete numbers such as 12. At some point, the ill-omened day and number were combined.

One estimate puts the percentage of paraskevidekatriaphobes at 8%. These are people who won’t travel on that day, make important decisions, or even leave their home. Historian Donald Dassey said Friday the 13th costs the world economy as much as $900 million because people don’t conduct business as they normally would.

Some have chosen to flout the bad luck associated with the day. Since 1995, Finland has selected one Friday the 13th each year as a national Accident Day, intended to focus on safety in the workplace and on the roads.

The day isn’t unlucky for everyone though. Since 2003, Michigan lottery players have won the Mega Million jackpot on Friday the 13th on four different occasions. Their winnings totaled nearly $200 million. These are the weirdest superstitions people believe will bring wealth.

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